VLCC Anne at Oxy Ingleside Energy Center. (Source: Port Corpus Christi) VLCC Anne at Oxy Ingleside Energy Center. (Source: Port Corpus Christi)The largest oil tanker to ever call at a Gulf of Mexico port recently arrived in Port Corpus Christi, Texas. The Very Large Crude Carrier (VLCC) Anne docked at the Oxy Ingleside Energy Center (OIEC) export terminal, the first crude oil export facility in the U.S. to receive such a large vessel.

Owned by Belgium-based Euronav, the VLCC is 1,093-ft (333-m)-long and capable of holding over two million barrels of oil. When fully laden a VLCC requires a draft of 66 ft (20 m), but as ship channel depth at Port Corpus Christi is at 47 ft (14 m) the vessel must be partially loaded, with an accompanying vessel to fill the remaining cargo once offshore.

Current VLCC operations require multiple smaller vessels to transport product offshore for loading, so loading VLCCs at Occidental Petroleum Corporation’s export terminal is expected to provide significant cost and time savings.

Port Corpus Christi is in the midst of a 10-year, $1 billion Capital Investment program which includes deepening and widening the ship channel. Additionally, construction of the longest cable-stayed bridge in the Western Hemisphere is underway to replace the aging Corpus Christi Harbor Bridge. Scheduled for completion in 2020, the bridge will provide increased air draft clearance to 205 feet (62 m).